Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ahmadiyya: Beliefs & General Introduction

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of Qadian (1835-1908)
  1. History of Ahmadiyya: a brief overview
  2. Summary of Ahmadi beliefs
  3. Status of Muhammadsa in Ahmadiyya
  4. Status of the Quran in Ahmadiyya
  5. Status of the ahadith (tradition of Muhammadsa) in Ahmadiyya
  6. Status of the Bible in Ahmadiyya
  7. Status of Khilafat-e-Rashida in Ahmadiyya
  8. Status of Sunni and Sufi scholars and saints in Ahmadiyya
  9. Status of Shia scholars and saints in Ahmadiyya
  10. Muhammadsa prophecised the return of Jesus
  11. The Bible also prophecised Jesus' return
  12. The Quran says Jesus is dead
  13. Muhammadsa believed Jesus is dead
  14. Muhammad'ssa companions understood Jesus is dead
  15. Ahmadis do not believe in the physical ascension of Jesus to Heaven
  16. Ahmadis do not believe in Jesus' physical descent from heaven
  17. The Quran states Jesus' mission is only to Jews and was never to Muslims
  18. The Bible states Jesus' mission is only to Jews and was never to Muslims
  19. The Quran often uses non-literal metaphorical language
  20. Religious prophecies often uses non-literal metaphorical language
  21. Other prophets have had metaphorical prophecies of their return
  22. Muhammadsa stated there are two different Jesus'
  23. Muhammadsa stated a coming messiah will be born among the Muslims
  24. Identity of the Mahdi
  25. Muhammadsa made it compulsory on Muslims to accept the mahdi
  26. Belief regarding Khatamun Nabiyeen
  27. The Quran uses Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
  28. Ahadith use Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
  29. Arabic dictionaries use Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
  30. Context shows khatamun nabiyeen's primary meaning
  31. Hadith saying Muhammadsa is 'last of the prophets' is not literal
  32. The Quran says the claim prophethood has come to an end is 'foolish'
  33. The Quran says more messengers can come
  34. Muhammadsa said more prophets can come and the messiah will be one
  35. Muhammadsa commanded Muslims to pray for more prophets
  36. Muhammad'ssa wife Ayesha understood more prophets can come
  37. The most revered Islamic scholars agreed more prophets can come
  38. Are Ahmadiyya beliefs insulting?

1- History of Ahmadiyya: a brief overview
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Born in Qadian in 1835, Ahmad belonged to a noble family of local chieftains who had migrated to the Punjab province of India from Persia. His father served both as a local chieftain and as a doctor and the family followed the Hanafi school within the Sunni sect of Islam. His father kept an extensive library of Islamic texts and built a large mosque on the family property.

As a child, Ahmad was taught the languages of Punjabi, Urdu, Persian and Arabic. He fell in love with the religion of Islam and spent his youth devoted to studying the Quran, books of Islamic tradition and classical Islamic scholarship. He also studied comparative religions and became so well versed in the Bible that he could quote from it at will.

India, at the time, was a multi-religious society ruled by the British Empire and Ahmad became determined to refute the gross allegations being hurled against Islam by the country’s media. He began to publish a series of articles and later books demonstrating the beauties of Islam. His outstanding scholarship won him wide acclaim in India, both with the masses and with Muslim scholars and leaders.

Ahmad’s revered status was shattered in 1891 when he claimed to the be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by The Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammadsa, 1400 years earlier. He was opposed by people of all faiths and the very same Muslims who had previously hailed him now issued edicts declaring him an infidel. Despite facing fierce and powerful opposition, by the time Ahmad passed away in 1908, thousands had already accepted his claim.

After his passing, Ahmad was succeeded by his most knowledgeable and righteous companion, Hazrat Nooruddin. Nooruddin became the worldwide spiritual head or Khalifa of the Ahmadis. On his death, he was succeeded by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, who would be forced to migrate from India to Pakistan on the partition of the countries in 1947. There, the Ahamdis founded a new city in the province of Punjab, Pakistan, called Rabwah.

He in turn was succeeded by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad and then Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, during whose lifetime the practice of Ahmadiyya was effectively outlawed by the government of Pakistan. Unable to practice his religion, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad moved to London where the head of the community is based to this day.

The Ahmadis are now led by the fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Ahmadiyya branch of Islam is established in almost every country of the world and has millions of adherents.

2- Summary of Ahmadi beliefs
We are Muslims, we believe in God, Who is one, and we also believe in the Kalimah [creed: ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger’]. We believe that the Quran is the book of Allah and Muhammadsa is His Prophet and Khatamul Anbiya. We believe in the existence of the angels, in the day of judgement, and in the existence of heaven and hell. We say our daily prayers, keep fast during Ramadan and turn towards Kaba to pray. We consider it our duty to refrain from whatever Allah and His Prophet forbid us to do and do whatever they command us to do. We have no authority to add or detract anything from the Islamic sharia. [religious law] (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Nur-ul-Haq)

3- Status of Muhammadsa in Ahmadiyya
There have been millions of pure-hearted people in the world and there will be many more in future, but we have found the best of them all and the choicest man of God, whose name is Muhammadsa. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Chashmah-e-Marifat)

4- Status of the Quran in Ahmadiyya
This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt. (Quran 2:2-3)

Ahmadis believe the Quran is the perfect word of God and no text or person can overrule or corrupt the Quran in any way.

5- Status of the ahadith (tradition of Muhammadsa) in Ahmadiyya
Sahih Bukhari ranks as the first. All its Ahadith which are not opposed to the Holy Quran are in our view authoritative. Next comes Sahih Muslim. We accept its authority subject to the condition that it should not be opposed to the Holy Quran and Sahih Bukhari. Next to them are the compilations of Tirmidhi, Ibn-e-Majah, Muwatta of Imam Malik, Nassa’i, Abu Da’ud and Dar Qutni, which we regard as authoritative so long as they are not opposed to the Holy Qur’an and Bukhari and Muslim. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Arya Dharam)

Aside from the collections of ahadith mentioned above – all of which are also accepted by most Muslims of the Sunni sects - Ahmadis do not discount other sources from the collections of respected Muslim scholars.

6- Status of the Bible in Ahmadiyya
We gave [Jesus] the Gospel which contained guidance and light, fulfilling that which was revealed before him in the Torah; and a guidance and an admonition for the Allah-fearing and let the people of the Gospel judge according to what Allah has revealed therein, and whoso judges not by what Allah has revealed, these it is who are the transgressors. (Quran 5:46-58)

The verses above refer to the Gospels (Christian Bible) and the Torah (Jewish Bible). Ahmadis believe that while parts of the Bible may have been corrupted, large sections still contain the true revelation of God, otherwise the Quran would not command Christians to judge the truth of Islam based on the Gospels in the Quranic verses quoted above. Therefore, where parts of the Bible does not contradict either the Quran or authentic ahadith Ahmadis are willing to to consider them valid.

7- Status of Khilafat-e-Rashida in Ahmadiyya
Ahmadi Muslims accept the Khalifas of Muhammadsa Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali all to have been rightly-guided by Allah and righteous leaders of the Muslims. We also believe the Khalifas of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who have a similar status to Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali. Apart from this, other people who claimed the title of Khalifa between these two groups are viewed as nothing more than political leaders with little relevance to religious belief.

8- Status of Sunni and Sufi scholars and saints in Ahmadiyya
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his Khalifas have often quoted and praised various Sunni and Sufi religious personalities. These include the Sufi ibn Arabi as well as various Islamic reformers from history. For instance, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV said the following in praise of three of the most notable imams and jurists followed by the Sunnis:

The Imam Abu Hanifa’s fatawa [religious interpretations] were very largely accepted by the umma [Muslims] and unless we find reasons to disagree with him, we would generally follow fiqh Hanifia [religious jurisprudence of Imam Abu Hanifa], but if in some places we find Imam Shafi closer to the Quran and hadith than Imam Abu Hanifa then we will follow him. If Hazrat Imam Malik is found to be closest then we will follow him. Personally I believe that Hazrat Imam Malik was not only nearest to Hazrat Rasul Allah [Muhammadsa] in time, but he was also the first collector of ahadith. Muwatta Imam Malik - although it is not counted among the books of hadith - but it is one of the most authentic books of hadith which was ever written. All its hadith are also included in Bukhari, so none of them can be objected against by any school of thought. Also, he was blessed by Allah with a very special ability in jurisprudence so on the whole I think Hazrat Imam Malik can also be bracketed with Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa.  (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, Question & Answer Session 3 March 1996)       

9- Status of Shia scholars and saints in Ahmadiyya
Hazrat Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him) was pure himself and also had the capacity to purify others, and, no doubt, he was amongst Chosen Ones whom Allah purifies Himself and fills with His love. He was no doubt among the leaders of the inmates of Paradise. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Tabligh-e-Risalat)

10- Muhammadsa prophecised the return of Jesus
The son of Mary will appear among you. He will be a judge. He will be just. (Bukhari)

According to the Quran and hadith, Jesus was a prophet who lived centuries before Muhammadsa. The hadith presented above is one of many in which prophecise Jesus' return.

11- The Bible also prophecised Jesus' return
These prophecies were not new, as the Bible had first made them centuries earlier:

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Bible Matthew 24:27-30)

Most Muslims and Christians interpret these prophecies to literally mean Jesus himself will one day return from heaven to Earth. However, Ahmadis believe these prophecies are not literal, but instead metaphors foretelling the advent of a prophet similar to Jesus. Ahmadis believe these prophecies were fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

12- The Quran says Jesus is dead
Those on whom they call besides Allah create not anything, but they are themselves created. They are dead, not living. (Quran 16:20-22)

The Quran asserts that those who are worshipped by idolaters are all dead. This includes Jesus, who has been worshipped by the predominant Christian sects since long before the revelation of the Quran.

Allah said: "Go forth, some of you will be enemies of others and for you there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time." He said: "Therein shall you live and therein shall you die and therefrom shall you be brought forth, o children of Adam..." (Quran 7:24-27)

Allah has explicitly made it His law that all the children of Adam, meaning every generation of humankind including Jesus, should live on Earth, not in heaven. This shows the theory that Jesus is still alive in heaven is false.

Jesus said: "I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book, and has made me a prophet and He has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live (Quran 19:30-32)

The Quran states Jesus will be 'almsgiving', giving to charity, as long as he lives, but if he were living in heaven there would presumably be no poor people to help. This shows that if Jesus is in heaven he must no longer be physically alive.

Him whom We grant long life, We revert him to a weak state in creation. (Quran 36:68-69)

Jesus, if he were still alive in heaven, would now be more than 2,000 years old according to accepted Islamic, Christian and academic history. He would have become weak and would be in no fit condition to return to Earth and continue the work of a prophet.

The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger. Surely Messengers like unto him had passed away before him and his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. (Quran 5:75-76)

We sent none as messengers before thee but men to whom We sent revelations - so ask the people of the reminder, if you know not. Nor did We give them bodies that ate not food, neither were they to live forever. (Quran 21:8-9)

By comparing Jesus to other messengers who have passed away, the Quran implies he is also dead. Moreover, the verse says Jesus used to eat food, in the past tense, meaning he no longer eats food. Meanwhile the Quran also says the messengers of Allah all died within normal life spans and could not live without food.

Allah will say: "O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men: 'Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?'" He will answer: "Holy art Thou, I could never say that which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is Thou alone Who art the Knower of all hidden things. I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me - worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord - and I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst TAWAFAITANI, Thou, hast been the Watcher over them." (Quran 5:116-118)

The Arabic word tawafa from the passage is translated by Ahmadis as 'caused me to die' and by non-Ahmadi Muslims as 'raise me up'. The reason for this disagreement is Jesus denies any knowledge of the Christians worshipping him. If he is already dead when he says this, this would prove he passed away before Christians made him their god, over 1,900 years ago. Muhammadsa resolved any controversy on the true meaning of the verse:

On the Day of Judgement some of my people will be driven to hell, and I will supplicate: "Lord! these are my companions". Then it will be said to me: "Didst thou say to men: 'Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?'". Upon this I will say what a righteous servant of God had said when he was asked: "Did you teach your people that they should worship you and your mother as gods?" I will say what Jesus had then said: "I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst TAWAFAITANI, Thou, hast been the Watcher over them." (Bukhari)

So conclusively, tawafaitani means death, as otherwise Muslims must believe Muhammadsa has been physically raised to heaven and is living there, when we no for a fact his body is buried in Medina. Moreover, the Quran states the correct translation of tawafa to be death:

The angel of death that has been put in charge of you will TAWAFAKOM, then to your Lord will you be brought back. (Quran 32:11-12)

Those of you who TAWAFANA and leave wives behind, these wives shall wait concerning themselves for four months and ten days (Quran 2:234-235)

Those of you who TAWAFANA and leave behind wives shall bequeath to their wives provision for a year without being turned out. (Quran 2:240-241)

Those whom the angels TAWAFAHU while they are pure, they say to them: "Peace be unto you. Enter Heaven because of what you used to do." (Quran 16:32-33)

When the angel of death causes tawafa, what else can the word mean? Actually, the Quran uses tawafa on more than a dozen occasions and not once does it imply physical ascension to heaven. Moreover, the funeral prayer recited by Muslims reads:

TAWAFI us in a state of submission. (Islamic funeral prayer)

The most popular Arabic dictionaries including: Assas-ul-Balagha, Qamoos, Taj-ul-Uroos, Lisaan-ul-Arab, Sihah-e-Johri, Farhang-e-Asaphia all agree tawafa means death.

13- Muhammadsa believed Jesus is dead
There is no one alive today but will be dead before a hundred years have passed over it. (Muslim)

If Moses and Jesus had been alive, they would have no choice but to follow me. (ibn Kathir)

If Moses and Jesus had been alive, they would have had to believe in me and follow me. (Tabarani)

Jesus, son of Mary, lived to 120 years. (Tabarani)

Do you not know that our Lord lives for ever while Jesus perished. (Wahidi)

Jesus lived to 120  years. (Kanz al-Ummal)

As Muhammadsa lived 1400 years ago, when he made the statement of the first tradition listed above, Jesus must have passed away at least 1300 years ago. The rest of the above statements directly confirm Jesus has passed away. 

14- Muhammad'ssa companions understood Jesus is dead
Muhammad is but a messenger. Verily the messengers have passed away before him. If then he dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels?  (Quran 3:144-146)

Some argue these verses do not refer to Jesus, but to other messengers. The truth can be understood from the moments after the death of Muhammadsa. Umar was refusing to accept he had died, when Abu Bakr intervened:

Abdullah Bin Abbas narrated that Abu Bakr came out while Umar was conversing with the people. He said to Umar to sit but he refused to comply. So, the people turned towards him and left Umar. Then Abu Bakr said: "Whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever amongst you worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah is living, there is no death for Him. Allah has said: `Muhammad is but a messenger. Verily all messengers have passed away before him.' By God, the people did not know that God had sent down this verse until Abu Bakr has recited it. So, the people in their entirety learnt it from him; then, whosoever among the people heard it recited it. Then Saeed Bin Musayyeb has told me, that Umar swearing by God said, did not know of this verse till he heard it from Abu Bakr, and consequently his legs could not support him, he staggered and fell down in an outburst of grief. (Bukhari)

Had Jesus still been alive, Umar and other companions would have argued Muhammadsa could also be alive. Instead, they accepted he must be dead as they knew all other messengers have passed away.

15- Ahmadis do not believe in the physical ascension of Jesus to Heaven
As stated above, many non-Ahmadi Muslims believe Jesus is still alive and has psychically risen to heaven,from where he will one day return. Ahmadis reject this belief and the debate focuses on the meaning of the following:

Remember the time when Allah said' "O Jesus, I will cause thee to die a natural death and will RAFI thee to Myself, and will clear thee of the charges of those who disbelieve, and will exalt those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the day of resurrection. Then to Me shall be your return, and I will judge between you concerning that wherein you differ." (Quran 3:55-56)

Ahmadis believe rafi to mean 'spiritually raise' while other Muslims consider it to mean 'physically raise'. Muhammadsa explained the true meaning of the word when he said:
No servant of Allah humbles himself for the sake of Allah, but Allah thereby brings about his RAFA (Muslim)
It is not just Jesus who has undergone RAFA, but every humble servant of Allah. Through history, many Muslims have proven themselves humble servants of Allah but not one has been physically raised to heaven. The meaning of the word can only be spiritual. Again, Muhammadsa taught his followers to recite:
Lord, forgive me, bless me, rectify me, and RAFA me (tradional supplication performed by Muslims between prostrations during the five daily Islamic prayers)
No Muslim would claim to be requesting physical ascension to heaven. The meaning of the word RAFA as used in the prayer above is only spiritual exaltation. Further, the Quran says:

They say: 'We will not believe in thee [Muhammad] until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth, or thou have a garden of date-palms and vines and cause streams to gush forth in the midst thereof in abundance, or thou cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces as thou hast claimed, or thou bring Allah and the angels before us face to face, or thou have a house of gold or thou ascend up into heave and we will not believe in thy ascension until thou send down to us a book that we can read.' Say: 'Holy is my Lord! I am but a mortal sent as a Messenger.' (Quran 17:90-94)

Muhammadsa was instructed to tell the disbelievers it is impossible for any mortal to physically ascend to heaven.  The Quran explains the true meaning of the word rafa in other parts of the Quran:

Relate the story of Idris as mentioned in the book. He was a truthful man and a prophet and We RAFA him to a lofty station. (Quran 19:56-58)

These messengers have We exalted some of them above others; among them there are those to whom Allah spoke and some of them He RAFA in degrees of rank (Quran 2:253-254)

The Quran uses the word rafa not only for Jesus but for Idris and several other prophets who we know have passed away naturally. The true meaning of this word can only be raising prophets in spiritual rank.

16- Ahmadis do not believe in Jesus' physical descent from heaven
The righteous, will be placed amid gardens and fountains. Enter therein with peace, in security and We shall remove whatever of rancour may be in their breasts so that they will be as brothers seated on thrones, facing one another. Fatigue shall not touch them, nor shall they ever be ejected therefrom. (Quran 15:45-49)

Even if Jesus had physically ascended to heaven, his physical return is impossible as the Quran says nobody is ever 'ejected' from heaven in the verse above.

17- The Quran states Jesus' mission is only to Jews and was never to Muslims
She said: "My Lord, how shall I have a son, when no man has touched me?" He said: "Such is the way of Allah. He creates what He pleases. When He decrees a thing He says to it 'Be' and it is and He will teach him the book and the wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel and will send him as a messenger to the children of Israel" (Quran 3:47-50)

Allah's purpose of creating the prophet Jesus was to send him with a message to the Jewish Israelis, not to Muslims 2,000 years later.

18- The Bible states Jesus' mission is only to Jews and was never to Muslims
I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. (Bible Matthew 15)

19- The Quran often uses non-literal metaphorical language
As established earlier, Ahadith say Jesus will return, but the Quran says Jesus is already dead. Should we reject these ahadith or can they be reinterpreted? Firstly, religious language often uses metaphors:

He it is who has sent down to thee the book. In it there are verses that are firm and decisive in meaning. They are the basis of the book and there are others that are susceptible of different interpretations. (Quran 3:7-8)

Dost thou not see how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word? It is like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches reach into heaven? It brings forth its fruit at all times by the command of its Lord. And Allah sets forth parables for men that they may be reminded. (Quran 14:24-26)

Thus does Allah set forth parables. (Quran 13:17-18)

We set forth clear parables (Quran 14:45-46)

Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. His light is as if there were a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is inside a glass-globe. The globe is, as it were, a glittering star. The lamp is lit from the oil of a blessed tree - an olive - neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil well-nigh would shine forth even though fire touched it not. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He pleases. And Allah sets forth parables for men. (Quran 24:35-36)

We have set forth for men in this Quran every type of parable. (Quran 30:58-59)

We have set forth for mankind all manner of parables in this Quran (Quran 39:26-27)
O children of Adam, We have indeed send down to you raiment to cover you nakedness and to be a means of adornment, but the raiment of righteousness, that is the best. (Quran 17:27-28)

20- Religious prophecies often uses non-literal metaphorical language
The King said to his courtiers: "I see in a dream seven fat kine which seven lean ones were eating, and seven green ears of corn and seven others withered. O ye chiefs, explain to me the meaning of my dream if you can interpret dreams." They replied: "These are confused dreams and we do not know the interpretation of confused dreams." And he of the two who was released and who now remembered after a time said: "I will let you know its interpretation, therefore, send ye me." And he came to Joseph and said: "Joseph! O thou man of truth, explain to us the meaning of seeing in a dream seven fat kine which seven lean ones devour, and of seven green ears of corn and seven others withered; that I may return to the people so that they may know the interpretation." Joseph replied: "You shall sow for seven years, working diligently throughout; then leave, what you reap in its ear, except a little which you shall eat." (Quran 12:43-48)

In the above prophecy, the kine each represented a year rather than an actual kine.

21- Other prophets have had metaphorical prophecies of their return
According to the Bible, the prophet Elijah was raised physically to heaven and was prophecised to physically return:

Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.(Bible 2 Kings 2:12) 

I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers. (Bible Malachi 3-4)

However, the Bible also confirms Elijah's eventual return was not physical, but metaphorical and in the form of the birth of a new prophet, John the Baptist (Yahya in the Quran):

But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John...He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth and he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (Bible Luke) 

Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John..."Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you the truth...and if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come." (Bible Matthew 11) 

Jesus replied: "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things, but I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they (ie. the Jews) did not recognise him, but have done to him everything they wished"...Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. (Bible Mark 9)

The Quran perhaps explains the true explanation of the above prophecy:

Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elijah – each was of the virtious. (Quran 6:85-86)

By comparing the similarities of John to Elijah, the Quran perhaps alludes to the Bible's confirmation that the prophecy of Elijah's return was a metaphor and was fulfilled by the advent of the prophet John, who was similar to Elijah.

22- Muhammadsa stated there are two different Jesus'
Jesus was of a rosy complexion, curly hair, and broad chest. (Bukhari)

Narrated Nafi, Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'I saw myself (in a dream) near the Kaba last night, and I saw a man with an Adamic (light brown) complexion, the best you may see amongst men of that complexion, having long hair reaching his earlobes which was the best hair of its sort, and he had combed his hair and water was dropping from it, and he was performing the circulation around the Kaba while he was leaning on two men or on the shoulders of two men. I asked: ‘Who is this man?’ Somebody replied, "Messiah, son of Mary.'" (Bukhari)

Jesus is described with two different appearances and this indicates the first and second messiahs are in reality two different people.

23- Muhammadsa stated the coming messiah will be born among the Muslims
How would it be with you when the son of Mary will descend among you and you will have a leader raised from among you. (Bukhari)

The promised Messiah was to be raised 'among' the Muslims, not among the Jews as Jesus was.  Some object to this interpretation by saying this hadith states Jesus will 'descend'. They believe this means he will fly down from heaven. In reality, 'descend' is used by Allah to mean blessings sent by Allah:

Allah has, indeed, sent down to you a reminder, a messenger. (Quran 65:10-12)

We sent Our Messengers with manifest Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that people may act with justice and We sent down iron. (Quran 57:25-26)

There is not a thing but are limitless treasures thereof with Us and We sent it not down except in a known measure. (Quran 15:21-22)

According to these verses all prophets including Muhammadsa were 'sent down' as was iron and treasure. In reality, we know this language is metaphorical and Muhammadsa was born naturally and did not fly down from they sky. The same applies to the aforementioned hadith.

24- Identity of the Mahdi
Another objection raised against Ahmadi interpretations is the mahdi was also prophecised to come with Jesus. However, Ahmadis believe the terms mahdi/Jesus are interchangeable names for the same person based on the following ahadith:

The Mahdi is none other than Jesus. (Ibn Maja)

Whosoever from among you is living when Jesus son of Mary arrives, he is the Imam Mahdi." (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal)

25- Muhammadsa made it compulsory on Muslims to accept the mahdi
When you find the Mahdi, pledge allegiance at his hands. You must go to him, even if you have to reach him across icebound mountains on your knees. He is the Mahdi, the Khalifa of Allah. (Ibn Maja)

He who dies in a condition that he has not recognised the imam of the age dies a death of ignorance. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal)

26- Belief regarding Khatamun Nabiyeen
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, WALAKIN he is the Messenger of Allah, and KHATAMUN NABIYEEN. (Quran 33:40-41)

Some non-Ahmadi Muslims believe the phrase Khatamun Nabiyeen from the above verse to mean 'last of the prophets' in the sense that no further prophet of any kind can come. The Ahmadiyya beliefs regrading the verse can be summarised as follows:

The charge leveled against me and my community is that we do not believe the Holy Prophetsa to be Khatamun Nabiyeen is a calumny. The fact is, the force, the certainty, the passion and the solid conviction with which we believe the Holy Prophetsa to be Khatamul Anbiyya is so strong and overwhelming and of such excellence that it is a hundred thousand times stronger than the belief of our accusers. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Malfoozat)

Know that our Holy Prophetsa, our Lord and Master excelled all other prophets in spiritual munificence. While the spiritual munificence of all prior prophets was a limited one and their followers and their religions are now lifeless. The spiritual munificence of the Holy Prophet s.a.w. continues till the end of times. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Chasma Masihi)

This status and title has been bestowed on me only because I am a true follower and servant of the Holy Prophetsa. If I had not been from his followers and if I had not been his follower, then even if my services and talents had been as massive and tall as the mountains of this world, I would not have acquired or been bestowed the title and honour of direct communication with God. This is true because all doors to prophethood are now closed, except the portal and the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa. After him, there can be no independent prophet with a new law or code. Now, the only type of prophethood that remains is that which is without any new sharia other than of Islam and which is bestowed on a true follower or servant of the Holy Prophet of Islam. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Tajalliyat-i-illahiya)

Added to the quotes above, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II stated in his 5 volume English commentary of the Quran that khatamun nabiyeen in this verse means that Muhammadsa is the seal, best and most perfect of prophets.
In summary, Ahmadis do believe in this verse and do accept khatamun nabiyeen can correctly be translated as last of the prophets. However, where it means 'last' it means that his spiritual greatness will last until the end of time, that the door to prophethood is closed except for the door of being the devoted follower of Muhammadsa, that Muhammadsa is the last independent and last law-bearing prophet and that his sharia is the last sharia. Therefore, subordinate non-law bearing prophethood is still possible for those Muslims who are absolutely obedient and devoted servants of Muhammadsa, his teachings and laws.

27- The Quran uses Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
Allah has set a KHATAM on their hearts and their ears, and over their eyes is a covering and for them is a grievous chastisement. (Quran 2:7-8)

This day we shall put a KHATAM on their mouths.(Quran 36:65-66)

Hast thou considered the case of him who has taken his own low desire for his god and whom Allah has adjudged as having gone astray on the basis of His perfect knowledge and whose ears and whose heart He has KHATAM and on whose eyes He has put a covering. Who then will guide him after Allah has so decreed concerning him? (Quran 45:23-24)

28- Ahadith use Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
Bara ibn 'Azib narrates that the Holy Prophet saw forbade us from wearing KHATAM made of gold. (Bukhari)

Like the example above, there are many ahadith which use the word 'Khatam' to mean ring or seal. In other ahadith, khatam has been used to mean greatest:

I was KHATAMUN NABIYEEN from the time when Adam was yet in a nascent age (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal)

Sahl ibn Saad Asaidee said: "When the Messenger of Allah s.a.w returned from Badr his uncle Abbas sought permission to return to Mecca and from there migrate to the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. At this the Messenger of Allah s.a.w said: 'Rest assured o uncle you are as KHATAMUL MUHAJIREEN in migration as I am KHATAMUN NABIYEEN in prophethood.'" (Kanz al-Ummal)

Khatamul Muhajireen, translated literally, would mean 'last of the migrants'. However, to this day people migrate. Therefore, Muhammadsa could only mean Abbas was undertaking the greatest migration and not that he was the last migrant. Therefore, khatam's primary meaning in context is 'greatest' rather than 'last'.

29- Arabic dictionaries use Khatam to mean 'seal' as well as 'last'
The most authoritative Arabic-English dictionary by Western academia confirms the correct translation of khatam:

KHATAM = A seal or stamp, and a mark, so in tradition the seal, or stamp, and the mark [of the Lord of the beings of the whole world upon His servants the believers], which removes from them accidents, and causes of mischief; for the seal of the writing protects it, and preludes those who look from [seeing] what is within it. (William Edward Lane. Arabic-English Lexicon)

30- Context shows khatamun nabiyeen's primary meaning
As noted earlier in this chapter, the word walakin appears in the middle of the khatamun nabiyeen. Walakin is regularly used in the Quran to join two statements which contrast with one another:

O my people, there is no error in me, WALAKIN I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds. (Quran 7:61-62)

O my people, there is no foolishness in me, WALAKIN I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds. (Quran 8:67-68)

So, if the khatamun nabiyeen verse is read 'last of the prophets' it becomes a non-sequitur joining two irrelevant statements. However, if we understand it to mean 'greatest of the prophets' it makes sense; Muhammad s.a.w did not have children, but had a higher status than any father by being the greatest of the prophets. This fits with the common use of walakin in the Quran.

31- Hadith saying Muhammadsa is 'last of the prophets' is not literal
Another objection against Ahmadi beliefs is that Muhammadsa is reported to have described himself as the 'last of the prophets'. To understand this statement, we must examine it in greater context:

I am the last of the Prophets and my mosque is the last of the mosques. (Muslim)

These words are clearly metaphorical as thousands of mosques have been built since that of Muhammad'ssa.

32- The Quran says the claim prophethood has come to an end is 'foolish'
Joseph, indeed, came to you before with clear proofs, but you ceased not to be in doubt concerning that which he came to you till, when he died, you said: "Allah will never raise a Messenger after him." Thus does Allah adjudge as having gone astray every transgressor, doubter, those who dispute concerning the signs of Allah without any authority having come to them from Allah. Grievously hateful is this in the sight of Allah and in the sight of those who believe. Thus does Allah set a seal upon the heart of every arrogant, haughty person. (Quran 40.34-36)

Say: "It has been revealed to me that a company of the jinn listened to the Quran and they said: 'Truly, we have heard a wonderful Quran. It guides to the right way, so we have believed in it and we will not associate anyone with our Lord. The truth is that - exalted be the Majesty of our Lord - He has taken unto Himself neither wife nor son and that the foolish amongst us used to utter extravagant lies concerning Allah and we thought that men and jinn would never utter a lie concerning Allah and, indeed, some men from among the common folk used to seek the protection of some men from among the jinn, and thus they increased the jinn in arrogance and, indeed, they thought, even as you think that Allah would never raise any Messenger." (Quran 72:1-8)

The claim prophethood has come to an end is an old one which the Quran  explicitly refuted in the passages above, as a 'foolish' and 'extravegant lie' which is 'hateful in the sight of Allah'.

33- The Quran says more messengers can come
O children of Adam, if Messengers come to you from among yourselves rehearsing My signs unto you then whoso shall fear Allah and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve. (Quran 7:35-36)

Allah chooses His messengers from among angels and from among men. (Quran 22:75-76)

Allah chooses of His messengers whom He pleases. Believe therefore in Allah and His Messengers. If you believe and be righteous you shall have a great reward.(Quran 3:179-180)

Whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings; the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous. (Quran 4:69-70)

34- Muhammadsa said more prophets can come and the messiah will be one
Jesus the prophet of Allah and his companions will be besieged…then, Jesus the prophet of Allah, and his companions will turn to Allah…then, Jesus the Prophet of Allah and his companions will invade the camps of the enemy…and finally Jesus the prophet of Allah, and his companions will turn to Allah…(Muslim)

Beware, there shall be no prophet or messenger between Jesus, the son of Mary, and me. Remember, he shall be my Khalifa in my Ummah after me (Tabarani)

If Ibrahim [Muhammad'ssa son] had lived, he would have been a Prophet. (Ibn Maja)

Abu Bakr is the best of men after me, except a prophet should appear. (Kanz al-Ummal)

35- Muhammadsa commanded Muslims to pray for more prophets
Jesus is reported to have said:

You will not see me again until you say: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." (Bible Matthew 23:37-39)

This was a fantastic prophecy and of course the person who came 'in the name of the Lord' was Muhammadsa, who began the recitation of the Quran with 'in the name of Allah'. Another aspect of Jesus' prophecy was Muhammad'ssa followers would bless him and this was fulfilled as follows:

Allah sends down His blessings on the Prophet and His angels pray for him. O ye who believe, you too should invoke His blessings on him. (Quran 33:56-57)

Muhammadsa said: "Say: O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent your blessings on Abraham and on the family of Abraham, for You are worthy of all praise, full of all glory." (Bukhari)

In accordance with these commandments, all Muslims pray to bless Muhammadsa, as God blessed Abraham five times a day as part of our compulsory prayers. The Quran and the Bible repeatedly make it clear one of the blessings Abraham received was prophethood among his progeny:

Peace be upon Abraham! Thus do We reward those who do good. Surely, he was one of our believing servants and We gave him the glad tidings of Isaac, a Prophet, and one of the righteous and We bestowed blessings on him and on Isaac. And among their progeny are some who do good and others who clearly wrong themselves. (Quran 109:114)

Ahmadis believe Muhammadsa told his followers to pray he would receive all the blessings Abraham received and this includes prophethood among his followers. This fulfils the final part of Jesus' prophecy, that to witness the coming of the second messiah, Muslims would first have to pray for blessings on Muhammadsa. These concepts were well understood by some of the greatest Muslims of all time. Imam Jafar Sadiq is one of the few scholars to be revered by Sunnis, Shias, Sufis and Ahmadis alike. Born a few years after the death of Muhammadsa, he was the direct descendant of Muhammadsa Abu Bakr and Ali. He wrote:

Allah raised prophets, messengers and imams from the progeny of Abraham. It is therefore surprising that while acknowledging these blessings among the progeny of Abraham, people tend to deny this possibility in the case of the progeny and the followers of Muhammad s.a.w. (Imam Jafar Sadiq, scholar, 702-765, Al-Saafi Sharah Osoolul Kaaf v3 p119)

Meanwhile, revered Sufi saint and scholar Ibn Arabi wrote:

From the study and contemplation of the Darud we have arrived at the definite conclusion that there shall, from among the Muslims, certainly be persons whose status, in the matter of prophethood, shall advance to the level of prophets, if Allah pleases. But they shall not be given any book of law. (Ibn Arabi, scholar, 1165-1240, v1. P545)

36- Muhammad'ssa wife Ayesha understood more prophets can come
Muhammad'ssa wife, Ayesha, is recorded to have said:

Say he is KHATAMUL ANBIYYA but do not say that there would be no prophet after him. (Manthur)

37- The most revered Islamic scholars agreed more prophets can come
The end of prophethood with the Holy Prophet s.a.w. only means that there can be no law bearing prophet or a prophet from outside the Ummah (Shah Waliullah, Mujadid, 1703-1762, Alkhair Alkatheer p111)

We know this with certainty that in the Muslim ummah there will be individuals whose status, according to Allah, will be of prophets. Prophethood will continue in mankind till the day of resurrection. The prophethood which came to an end with the advent of the Holy Prophet s.a.w was a prophet with a new book and new law. There is no room for such prophethood after the Quran. Henceforth, whenever any prophet comes, he will be subordinate to The Holy Prophet s.a.w. and his Shariah. (Ibn Arabi, scholar, 1165-1240, Fatoohat-i-Makkiyya)

"Exert yourself in the service of faith to such an extent that you be granted prophethood within the Muslim Ummah." (Rumi, scholar, 1207-1273, Masnavi v5, p 42)

He was the Khatam because no one in generosity has ever been like him before nor shall ever be: When an artisan excels to the excellence of his craft, You never say to him that the craftsmanship has now come to its end.’ (Rumi, scholar, 1207-1273, Masnavi ch6)

The general public may conceive that 'Khatamun Nabbiyeen' means that the Holy Prophet s.a.w was the last of the prophets but people of knowledge and understanding know it very well that being the first or last does not necessarily connote excellence. Khatamiyyat is not in any way rejected or denied if a prophet appears after the Holy Prophet s.a.w. But if Khatamiyyat is only taken to mean the last prophet, this would be a disparaging interpretation. Such an interpretation would not be acceptable to followers of Islam. (Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, founder of the Deobandi sect, 1833-1880, Tahzeer Alnas p3)

'According to the layman the Messenger of Allah s.a.w being Khatam is supposed to have appeared after all the previous prophets. But men of understanding and the wise know it very well that being first or the last, chronologically, does not carry any weight. How could, therefore, the words of the Holy Qur’an: "But he is the Messenger of Allah and the seal of the prophets" (33:40-41) glorify him? But I know very well that non from among the Muslims would be prepared to agree with the common men. (Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, founder of the Deobandi sect, 1833-1880,Tahzir-ul-Naas p4)

"The attainment of prophethood by one of his followers, as a subordinate and in service of the Holy Prophet s.a.w., will in no way offend or be in conflict with his status as Khaatamur-Rosul. No doubts need be entertained in this regard." (Ahmad Sirhindi, Mujadid, 1561-1624, Makoobat 1 p432)

According to us, it means that prophethood manifested itself in its full and complete manner in the Holy Prophet (saw). His heart became a vessel for the complete perfection of prophethood and then his heart was sealed. How can glory and superiority of Mohammad(saw) be manifested if we claim that he was the last to appear in the world. This is, no doubt, an interpretation of the foolish and ignorant’. (Al-Hakim Al-Tirmidhi, scholar, 750-869, Kitab Khatamul Auliya p341)

Remember that prophethood has not disappeared. Prophets can appear. The prophethood that has ceased to exist is only that which brings with it a new law. (Abdul Wahab Shairani, scholar, 1493-1565, Al-Yawaqeet-0-Wal-Jawahir v3 p35)

If lbrahim had lived and become a prophet and if Umar had become one too, both of them would have been subordinate prophets and followers of the Holy Prophet s.a.w. Even as Jesus, Khizar and Ilyas, their prophethood would not have run counter to the Holy Prophet's title 'Khatamun Nabbiyeen'. This is so because 'Khatamun Nabbiyeen' simply implies that after the Holy Prophet s.a.w. there cannot be any prophet who brings a new Shariah and is not from his Ummah and his follower. (Ali al-Qari, scholar, died 1605, Mauznat- i-Kabeeri p322)

38- Are Ahmadiyya beliefs insulting?
The allegation is made that Ahmadiyya beliefs on the subjects above, particularly our interpretation of the meaning of khatam and on the death of Jesus are insulting. In reality, it is the opposing beliefs that seem strange when properly scrutinised. 

For example, non-Ahmadi Muslims argue that Muhammadsa was literally the last ever prophet. Yet, in the same breath they say the prophet Jesus will one day return. This is a contradiction as, according to their own stated beliefs, it is Jesus who is in fact the final prophet. Therefore, the truth is that the majority of Muslims, Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi alike, believe another prophet can and will come. The only point of contention is whether that prophet is to literally be a 2,000 year old Jesus or is in fact Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who had many similarities to Jesus. 

If we consider these points, merely labeling Muhammadsa as the last prophet is a meaningless statement. Being the last at anything is no honour; who wants to come last in a race or last in any test? Neither has chronological order ever brought honour upon prophets. For example, it is widely believed by Muslims that Jesus was the last prophet to arrive before Muhammadsa. Yet, it is Abraham who was given the greater honour in Islam, when Muhammadsa  instructed his followers to pray that he received the same blessings as Abraham, not Jesus:

Muhammadsa said: "Say: O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent your blessings on Abraham and on the family of Abraham, for You are worthy of all praise, full of all glory." (Bukhari)

Conclusively, Islam does not honour prophets according to their chronological order. 

It is not Ahmadi beliefs on these issues which are insulting, but the most commonly held non-Ahmadi beliefs. For example, non-Ahmadis believe that it was Jesus who was given the honour of being born centuries before Muhammadsa and that he continues to remain alive in heaven centuries after Muhammadsa  has already passed away. Furthermore, it is not Muhammadsa  who is capable of returning to Earth, but Jesus. Nor, according to this strange belief, is a single follower of Muhammadsa   capable of rising to the rank of prophet by following the teachings and example Muhammadsa. Instead, an earlier prophet (Jesus) who never even read the Quran (because it had not yet been revealed in his era) and who did not even recite the Islamic creed or claim to follow Muhammadsa (because Muhammadsa had not yet been born during Jesus' lifetime) and who followed the teachings of Moses will be forced to reform the inadequete followers of Muhammadsa.

The Ahmadiyya belief that the most devoted servant of Muhammadsa  will be blessed with the rank of prophethood and continue to follow only the law of Muhammadsa as revealed in the Quran, without a single deviation, and will fully recognise Muhammadsa   as the greatest of all prophets,  is far more sensible and far less insulting a belief. 

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